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Second home burns on Bolton Road, investigation continues Friday
There has been a second fire in less than a week at a home on Bolton Road in Tappen.
Fire crews were called out, Thursday, Feb. 13, to a residence which fire officials confirm was empty at the time of the blaze.
The fire was reported at 6:32 a.m. and a member of the Tappen Sunnybrae Fire department who lives close by was on scene almost immediately. Members of the fire department were on scene shortly thereafter and assistance was also called in from the White Lake and Shuswap Fire Departments. Approximately 20 firefighters were involved in the effort to put out the fire.
On Friday morning, the scene had been secured and an excavator was being brought in to move some debris to allow investigators better access to the scene. A hot tub located on a deck collapsed into the basement area, which is where investigators believe the fire had originated. Following this, Kenn Mount, Columbia Shuswap Regional District Fire Service Co-ordinator, says the home will likely be demolished due to safety concerns.
There are concerns the fire may be linked to illegal activity. The RCMP have been participating in the investigation.
"The fire is definitely suspicious in nature. We will be working closely with the RCMP on this case and I'll be handing over my files to them once our investigation is concluded," said Mount.
The rental home is currently listed for sale. The owner, who lives in Kamloops, has been interviewed by fire investigators and the primary tenant was not in Salmon Arm at the time of the blaze.
"Knowing there was activity at the home prior to the fire, that is part of what we are trying to find out. We'd like to know who was there and what type of activity was taking place before the fire," says Mount, who notes there was evidence of people coming and going from the residence and a bonfire in the backyard. He also says the timing of the blaze, just a few days after another, accidental fire on the same road, adds to the suspicions about the cause.
Mount says while the 30-year-old home appears to be a total loss, the fire response was outstanding.
"The firefighter response was excellent, the water supply was good and the weather was much better than at the last fire out here, we're not dealing with the freezing cold," he said. "It's a well-organized response. I give two thumbs up to the Tappen Sunnybrae department for a really well-managed command."
The other fire Mount refers to is a blaze that took place on Feb. 9, when a family of five lost their Bolton Road home to a fire that is believed to have originated in a basement woodstove or chimney. During that fire, the Shuswap was in the grip of a cold snap, which caused some difficulties in fighting the fire with water lines and radios freezing up.